I think this world is beautiful, and I think everyone should have the opportunity to see it. Nonetheless, I think there are some areas of the world that should remain out of reach.
I would love to go to Antarctica, it sparks my scientific interest and its landscapes are unlike any other on the planet. But when I see the adverts offering tours like no other to the very bottom of the planet, I’m not excited, I’m saddened. The truth is I would never go to Antarctica in a tourist capacity, and I wish no one else would either.
The landscapes are dramatic, the wildlife untainted. But that’s the way it should stay. From the littered trails of Annapurna to the muddied waters of the Great Barrier Reef, tourists have a tendency to leave a mark. Whilst some environments can be cleaned up, notices displayed, warnings issues and stability restored, others are more sensitive.
Antarctica and the Arctic would be beautiful to visit, an opportunity of a lifetime. But this is an environment that is already extremely vulnerable. The ecosystem is fragile and already putting up with enough from us. The introduction of more and more ships to the area increases the risk of species invasion and pollution. Another hit the ends of the earth just can’t handle.
We are so lucky that we could be on the other side of the world within 24 hours. The world is truly our oyster, maybe I’m just an over-enthused Geography student, but I think it’s also our responsibility to make sure it is looked after. While we could travel to these amazing places, it doesn’t necessarily mean we should. And those we do get to see, we need to make sure nothing gets left behind, as cliché as it is, take only photos, leave only footprints. Ethical travel can come into play in every aspect of your journey. Stay at hostels that offer recycling points, go on tours that hire local people, respect local culture and don’t be involved in tourist thrills that exploit the environment or animals. Travel and see the world, but realise how lucky you are to do and treat the places you travel to like the treasures they are.